PHRF PHILOSOPHY: Rule Changes to Focus on Core Mission

Published on April 1st, 2013

In a move many believe is long overdue, the United States Performance Handicap Racing Fleet Committee has initiated some sweeping changes that will apply to all events in 2013 that use the PHRF rule.

“The sport has evolved since rule was first introduced, and some of these changes prove counter to the core values of the rule,” explained committee chair Bruce Bingman. “The rule has always assumed that boats and crew among the fleet are relatively equal, but that is far from the case now and changes needed to get made to allow people to feel they can fairly compete again.”

With the emergence of professional crew and highly technical sails, owners have been able to effectively improve their rating by spending significant funds to enhance their boat’s performance. “Hiring pros at $400 a day and buying thermo-molded composite foil sails for their Cal 25 is not the path we want PHRF to be on,” said Bingman. “This is asinine and is the cause for our sport to annually shrink.”

Beginning June 1, no Group 3 sailors are permitted during a race unless they own a boat. Sails that are currently owned may be used in 2013, but all sails bought after August 1 must fit within the new sail guidelines. “We have assembled the prominent sailmakers to define the new standard,” Binham noted. “They have finally realized the damage they have done by selling high-tech sails to a low-tech fleet, and are finally working together to right the ship.”

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